Personal Retreats at the Vermont Zen Center are a wonderful way to combine quiet time and spiritual inspiration. Retreats are an opportunity to enjoy your own natural rhythms in an extraordinary setting. A retreat might include time for writing, meditation, yoga, study, reading, or simply quiet time away from the normal routines of your everyday life.
At the Zen Center, you will find a natural and contemplative environment conducive to rest and renewal. On your retreat, you are free to schedule your own time or, if you wish, we can provide suggestions for retreat schedules. You are always welcome to join our daily meditation sessions and seasonal gardening.
Those on personal retreat provide their own food and prepare their own vegetarian meals. Bedding is supplied. Retreatants may use the library, meditation room and other areas. We have a fine collection of books on Buddhism and Eastern spirituality as well as many audio tapes.
If you are interested in combining your retreat with a vacation in tropical paradise, you might consider a stay at our sister Center in Costa Rica, the Casa Zen.
Things to Know
- Quiet time—From 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays; 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday are times when our members are using the meditation room. Out of respect for house residents we ask that noise be kept to a minimum after 9 p.m.
- Vegetarian food only—We do not serve meat, fish, or poultry at the Center and ask that no one bring such foods into the Center or onto the Center’s grounds.
- Alcohol & drugs—The consumption of any type of alcoholic beverage and the use of recreational drugs is prohibited at the Center.
- Smoking—Smoking is not permitted in any of the buildings or on the grounds.
- Shoes—We do not wear shoes in Zen Center’s buildings, however visitors are welcome to wear house slippers. We do ask that you not wear slippers in the Buddha Building at any time unless you must do so for health reasons.
- Attire—It is permissible to wear unpatterned, dark street clothing in the zendo. However, many people prefer to wear a robe for sittings. There are loaner robes available at the Center. If you do wear street clothes, they should be clean and untorn. Please do not wear shorts, jeans, sleeveless shirts or head coverings (hats, scarves, etc.) in the meditation areas at any time. Since cushions cannot be cleaned, if you plan to use a cushion under your feet, please wear socks so as not to get the cushion dirty.
- Pets—Pets are not allowed at the Zen Center.
- Fire precautions—Due to the danger of fire, candles can only be used in the meditation areas.
- Strong smells—We ask that visitors not use strong perfumes, shampoos, or cosmetics because their smells can permeate fabrics and linger.
- Cleaning up—The Zen Center has no housekeeping service and retreatants are asked to leave Center as it is found: clean and ready for the next person. There is a very simple clean-up procedure and cleaning materials are furnished.
Bathrooms are dormitory style; there are no rooms with private bathrooms. There is an ADA bedroom and bathroom which is usually available.
Because the Zen Center is a place of spiritual practice with a focus of silent meditation and introspection, couples do not share rooms.
What to Bring & What We Provide
- Food—Please bring or purchase your own vegetarian food (no meat, fish, poultry or items such as beef or chicken stock, foods containing gelatin, etc.). We do not provide coffee, so please bring your own.
- Clothing—Please bring solid dark colored clothes to use during sittings; indoor shoes or slippers, if needed; outdoor work clothes if you would like to do some silent work practice outside in the gardens. We can also provide you with a loaner sitting robe if you wish.
- Bedding & Toiletries—We provide bedding, shampoo and soap, though you are welcome to bring your own.
- Kitchenware—We provide kitchenware, silverware, cooking utensils, tea, and basic spices.
Rates for Stays in the Zen Center
All rooms in the Zen Center are $50/day per person for stays of up to one week. Sorry, but we are unable to accept credit card payments for retreats. Payment must be made at the time of your visit by check, cash or money order.
Visit Request Form
If you are interested in staying at the Center, please complete a Visit Request Form. You can also call the Center at (802) 985-9746 or send an e-mail to Ramiro Barrantes, our Guest Master, to inquire about room availability. The Center is closed periodically due to sesshin and ceremonies. Please check our retreat calendar for black-out dates and available days.